God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Reinhold Niebuhr wrote this famous prayer in the 1940s as part of a sermon he shared with his congregation. Alcoholics Anonymous and other recovery programs soon adopted it as a way to encourage members to overcome addictions.
The simplicity of the first four lines can challenge us today as Christians to trust in God to give us peace when we face changes. The word serenity means to approach something with calmness or peacefulness. If that sounds familiar, turn to Philippians 4:6-7 and you’ll see why:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
The serenity prayer is a prayer asking God to help us live out Philippians 4:6-7. It’s a way to acknowledge that God is the only one who can give us peace to face challenges, and wisdom to know when we should do something different.
The Serenity Prayer With Our Finances
If you look at the second part of the serenity prayer, the theme is to trust in God and to find our joy and peace in Him. The idea of taking one day at a time and enjoying what we have can be quickly overshadowed by overwhelming debt, unemployment, or other financial burdens. It’s really easy to become discouraged with our finances, because there’s a lot of trial and error that comes with reshaping the budget and paying down debt. But the serenity prayer encourages us to approach it in a different way. Instead of trying to change your entire financial picture all at once, take it once piece at a time. Use little victories and small achievements to power your drive to eliminate bigger debts. When you approach it this way and look to God for peace and wisdom, those changes won’t seem as overwhelming after all.
God Grant Me The Serenity… At Work. At Home. With Others.
I’d challenge you to memorize this prayer and use it as a reminder of our need for God’s peace. Whether we’re at work, at home, or with a group of friends, ask God for peace and wisdom to know how to handle challenges.
One of the best ways to memorize a scripture or quote is to write it on a piece of paper and put it in places that you look at each day. You can print out this serenity prayer pdf file and cut out the serenity prayer to place around your home or office as a reminder.